It might have been. 100% italics are too hard on the eyes.
Please consider plain text.
Ishi apparently wasn't the last Yahi, according to new evidence from UC Berkeley research archaeologist by Gretchen Kell
Berkeley -- Ishi is a household name in Northern California, where school children have been taught for 85 years that he was the last Yahi, a subgroup of the Yana Indians. "Ishi, the Last Yana Indian, 1916," is etched into the small black jar containing his cremated remains.
But by studying the arrowpoints Ishi made, Steven Shackley, a research archaeologist at the University of California at Berkeley's Hearst Museum of Anthropology, has discovered that Ishi apparently wasn't the last full-blooded Yahi, or Yana, after all.
Instead, Shackley said that Ishi, who was found, starving and afraid, near Oroville in 1911, was of mixed Indian blood -- a finding that revises Ishi's famous history, which many Californians learned by reading "Ishi in Two Worlds" by Theodora Kroeber.
Shackley said that, in light of this new evidence on Ishi, teachers educating children about California history "should be more aware of the complexity of Ishi's situation. It's more complex than Kroeber imagined."
Her book was "simplistic," he said, "not based completely on hard research."
An analysis by Shackley of a large UC Berkeley collection of Ishi's arrowpoints indicates that although he spoke Yahi and had lived in the ancestral Yahi homeland in the Mount Lassen foothills, he also had either Wintu or Nomlaki blood.
"Arrowpoints made in the historic Yahi sites excavated by the Department of Anthropology in the 1950s and housed at the museum are quite different from Ishi's products," said Shackley. "But tools and arrowpoints made at historic Nomlaki or Wintu sites also housed at the museum bear striking resemblance to those made by Ishi."
An expert in stone tool technology, Shackley found that the hundreds of projectile points Ishi made after he left the wilderness had long blades with concave bases and side notches. In contrast, arrowheads in the museum from historic Yahi sites are short and squat, with contracting stems and basal notches.
Although Ishi was culturally Yahi, said Shackley, "it appears he was not the last purely Yahi Indian. He learned to produce arrowpoints not from Yahi relatives, but very possibly from a Nomlaki or Wintu male relative.
"This makes Ishi's story even more romantic and sad," he said. "Being of mixed blood, he is an example of the cultural pressure the Anglos placed on the dwindling number of Indians in the mid- to late-1800s to marry their enemies."
Shackley first investigated Ishi's arrowpoints in 1990. After a hiatus, he resumed work upon hearing evidence at an Ishi conference that physical anthropology suggests Ishi was not completely Yana.
The Wintu, Nomlaki and Maidu belonged to a large group of Indians in the Sacramento Valley who spoke a language called Penutian. They lived adjacent to their enemies, the Yana, who were in the Lassen foothills. The Yana had four subgroups -- the northern, central and southern Yana, and the Yahi -- and each had its own dialect, territory and culture.
Ishi was born into an extended family that, in order to perpetuate life, was forced to intermarry with outsiders, with enemies, said Shackley, and one of Ishi's parents may have been Wintu or Nomlaki. The number of Indians was dwindling, and an incest taboo kept them from choosing a relative as a mate.
"We always thought that Ishi was a survivor who was extremely adaptive," said Shackley. "Now we know he was even more adaptive because he was the product of a society that had to adapt to a situation that was not part of its cultural ideology."
"Ishi didn't talk about his ancestors because his religious beliefs prevented him from doing that. But that's my job as an archaeologist," he said. "And Ishi would have wanted the truth known."
Ishi first made headlines on Aug. 29, 1911, when butchers found him outside a slaughterhouse near Oroville. Initially, he was jailed by the Butte County sheriff. But two UC Berkeley anthropologists, Alfred Kroeber and Thomas Talbot Waterman, befriended Ishi and gave him shelter at the campus' anthropology museum, then in San Francisco.
Kroeber's wife, the author of "Ishi In Two Worlds," wrote that Ishi was "the last wild Indian in North America, a man of Stone Age culture."
The anthropologists pronounced Ishi a Yahi because he spoke Yahi and was found near Yahi territory. They also considered him the last Yahi, said Shackley, since "the only Yahi left in the hinterlands were believed to have been exterminated by Indian killers brought in by whites,"
Furthermore, they believed Ishi was the last Indian to have lived in the wild. Massacres, starvation and disease had taken the lives of countless Indians in Northern California during the mid- to late-1800s. Many others had been forced into reservations.
In 1908, surveyors did spot four Indians in Yahi territory. But in 1909, Waterman and two guides failed to find the group. Two years later, Ishi, who verified that he had been one of the four, appeared alone near Oroville.
"That Ishi was wearing his hair burned short in sign of mourning in August, 1911, was evidence of a death or deaths in his family," wrote Theodora Kroeber, "but his mourning may well have been a prolonged one."
Under pressure from reporters who wanted to know the stranger's name, Alfred Kroeber called him "Ishi," which means "man" in Yana. Ishi never uttered his real name.
"A California Indian almost never speaks his own name," wrote Kroeber's wife, "using it but rarely with those who already know it, and he would never tell it in reply to a direct question."
Ishi was given a home at the University of California's anthropology museum -- then on the UCSF campus in an old law school building. He lived there for most of the rest of his life, except for the summer of 1915, when he lived in Berkeley with Waterman and his family.
While at the museum, Ishi often worked on native crafts, such as the arrowpoints Shackley analyzed. By his own choice, he often did these crafts for museum audiences and would give some of his work away.
"The quality of the arrowpoints Ishi made shows he felt good about himself -- he was a good craftsman," said Shackley. "This positive self-image helped make Ishi a hell of an adaptive person."
Ishi formed close friendships with Waterman and Kroeber and with Saxton Pope, a teacher at the university's medical school, which was next door to the museum. He also agreed to record linguistic material on the Yahi language for UC Berkeley.
In December 1914, Ishi developed what doctors felt was tuberculosis. After several hospitalizations, his friends moved him back to the museum to spend his last days. He died there on March 25, 1916.
Note: Contact Steven Shackley at (510) 643-1193, extension 3. A limited number of photos is available upon request from Gretchen Kell at the UC Berkeley Public Information Office (510) 642-3136.
Waterman and Kroeber, bound to the reticences of Yana etiquette, made no significant public statement upon Ishi's death. He had walked quietly out of the Neolithic world into their world, and once he was settled in the museum, Ishi and the anthropologists took each other pretty much for granted, as one's family is taken for granted, and one's close friend. Four and more moon cycles waxed and waned and returned, while Ishi stayed on, a part of the changing twentieth century--his two friends had ceased to envision a world without him.
Then he was gone, the long journey from the ancient Yana homeland along Mill and Deer creeks to the Land of the Yana Dead completed, his leavetaking from his friends and their world as quiet as his own preferred and understated phrase of farewell:
"YOU STAY, I GO."
Thanks to immigration, I feel like that too.
The Union treats the Indians with less cupidity and violence than the several states, but the two governments are alike deficient in good faith. The states extend what they call the benefits of their laws to the Indians, believing that the tribes will recede rather than submit to them; and the central government, which promises a permanent refuge to these unhappy beings in the West, is well aware of its inability to secure it to them.25 Thus the tyranny of the states obliges the savages to retire; the Union, by its promises and resources, facilitates their retreat; and these measures tend to precisely the same end.26
"By the will of our Father in heaven, the Governor of the whole world," said the Cherokees in their petition to Congress,27 "the red man of America has become small, and the white man great and renowned. When the ancestors of the people of these United States first came to the shores of America, they found the red man strong: though he was ignorant and savage, yet he received them kindly and gave them dry land to rest their weary feet. They met in peace and shook hands in token of friendship. Whatever the white man wanted and asked of the Indian, the latter willingly gave. At that time the Indian was the lord, and the white man the suppliant. But now the scene has changed. The strength of the red man has become weakness. As his neighbors increased in numbers, his power became less and less; and now, of the many and powerful tribes who once covered these United States, only a few are to be seen--a few whom a sweeping pestilence has left. The Northern tribes, who were once so numerous and powerful, are now nearly extinct. Thus it has happened to the red man in America. Shall we, who are remnants, share the same fate? "The land on which we stand we have received as an inheritance from our fathers, who possessed it from time immemorial, as a gift from our common Father in heaven. They bequeathed it to us as their children, and we have sacredly kept it, as containing the remains of our beloved men. This right of inheritance we have never ceded nor ever forfeited. Permit us to ask what better right can the people have to a country than the right of inheritance and immemorial peaceable possession? We know it is said of late by the state of Georgia and by the Executive of the United States that we have forfeited this right; but we think this is said gratuitously. At what time have we made the forfeit? What great crime have we committed whereby we must forever be divested of our country and rights? Was it when we were hostile to the United States and took part with the King of Great Britain during the struggle for independence? If so, why was not this forfeiture declared in the first treaty of peace between the United States and our beloved men? Why was not such an article as the following inserted in the treaty: 'The United States give peace to the Cherokees, but, for the part they took in the late war, declare them to be but tenants at will, to be removed when the convenience of the states within whose chartered limits they live shall require it'? That was the proper time to assume such a possession. But it was not thought of; nor would our forefathers have agreed to any treaty whose tendency was to deprive them of their rights and their country."
Such is the language of the Indians: what they say is true; what they foresee seems inevitable. From whichever side we consider the destinies of the aborigines of North America, their calamities appear irremediable: if they continue barbarous, they are forced to retire; if they attempt to civilize themselves, the contact of a more civilized community subjects them to oppression and destitution. They perish if they continue to wander from waste to waste, and if they attempt to settle they still must perish. The assistance of Europeans is necessary to instruct them, but the approach of Europeans corrupts and repels them into savage life. They refuse to change their habits as long as their solitudes are their own, and it is too late to change them when at last they are forced to submit.
The Spaniards pursued the Indians with bloodhounds, like wild beasts; they sacked the New World like a city taken by storm, with no discernment or compassion; but destruction must cease at last and frenzy has a limit: the remnant of the Indian population which had escaped the massacre mixed with its conquerors and adopted in the end their religion and their manners.28 The conduct of the Americans of the United States towards the aborigines is characterized, on the other hand, by a singular attachment to the formalities of law. Provided that the Indians retain their barbarous condition, the Americans take no part in their affairs; they treat them as independent nations and do not possess themselves of their hunting-grounds without a treaty of purchase; and if an Indian nation happens to be so encroached upon as to be unable to subsist upon their territory, they kindly take them by the hand and transport them to a grave far from the land of their fathers.
The Spaniards were unable to exterminate the Indian race by those unparalleled atrocities which brand them with indelible shame, nor did they succeed even in wholly depriving it of its rights; but the Americans of the United States have accomplished this twofold purpose with singular felicity, tranquilly, legally, philanthropically, without shedding blood, and without violating a single great principle of morality in the eyes of the world.29 It is impossible to destroy men with more respect for the laws of humanity.
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